Reporter Megan Lee Podsiedlik Talks About New Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed reporter for The Pamphleteer, Megan Lee Podsiedlik in studio to discuss the early stance of Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and whether or not he’ll hold the line for Tennesseans.

Gulbransen: We have Megan Lee Podsiedlik of The Pamphleteer. Megan and I, when I was a reporter, but a short time ago, went to many of the same events and covered many of the same things, including the attorney general’s hearing process at the state Supreme Court. And I talked about this a couple of hours ago, but we both had our impressions during the hearing.

Podsiedlik: We did.

Gulbransen: And I think I have a very positive approval rating of the attorney general now. But why don’t you talk about your impressions? Because I’ve talked ad nauseam about the process with Michael on the air and of course, off the air as well. But what did you think of the hearings process?

Podsiedlik: I actually liked the hearings process. It would have been nicer if we saw more constituents and concerned Tennesseans in there to listen. But you could, of course, live stream online.

And I thought that the interviews were in depth. You have people who know what they’re talking about and know what they’re asking. So we saw how many people were in there? Nine?

Gulbransen: It was the applicants, their families, me, you.

Podsiedlik: Well, yes, of course.

Gulbransen: Spradlin and a reporter from The Tennessean and who was the only mass person in the room.

Podsiedlik: Well, and then there was that case. Yeah.

Gulbransen: And then one person who was able to ask the question, of course. And I was missed because, okay, they took the one question, and they’re like, all right, we’re out members of the Supreme Court, but we’re taking a break now. And then there were no further questions from the public. But that’s all right.

Podsiedlik: Sure. So when Skrmetti stepped up, when you’re looking for an AG as a fortify in the state of Tennessee, we’re looking for somebody who’s going to actually uphold what is important to the state of Tennessee against the fed. And of course, this is during COVID, I think that it really brought states’ rights and that sovereignty of our own state to the forefront of the conversation, at least for the Tennesseans that I know.

So when we were listening, that’s what I was really listening for. I’m like, who’s going to actually hold the line for our state? Skrmetti came out of the governor’s office.

We talked about that before. I’m assuming you probably brought that up. And you can’t tell I mean, these are all lawyers. They know how to talk. They know how to tell a story, too. So you’re kind of feeling people out. Of course, there was man, I’m going to not get his name, so I’m not going to bring it up. But you’re kind of looking for what are Tennesseans going to ask of their new attorney general.

Some people are looking for a hammer or looking for nails. Some people are looking it depends on who you are. And we saw different personalities approached in different ways. Skrmetti kind of toed the line really well. He’s a really smart guy. I thought it was super cute that his son was in there really paying attention. What was he, like seven?

Gulbransen: Yes, he was a young kid.

Podsiedlik: He was sitting front row, like really paying attention because someday he wants to be just like his dad. Which was really endearing to see. I just remember because I’m thinking, man, that little boy is way more ambitious than I ever could be at seven years old or whatever he was.

But now we’re seeing coming into the first 15 days of Skrmetti being in, we’re seeing him kind of come out the gate and we’re going to steadily get a vibe of how he’s going to do his job for the next eight years. And for me personally, I’m excited.

We’re seeing him come out with statements along with other attorneys general across the country against the new Title IX language. And of course, yesterday we saw him release something about fentanyl and little information about fentanyl in Davidson County.

Fentanyl caused, I think the difference is probably like 20 or so deaths caused just as many deaths during covet as COVID itself did during the height of COVID in Davidson County. So if we’re going to talk about the effects of something like a pandemic, then, yes, certainly we should refocus on something like fentanyl, which is, of course, coming into even states like Tennessee, even though we’re not close to the border, it’s leaking in from places not just Mexico, but also Canada, and is really devastating because you can overdose in such a tiny, tiny amount of fentanyl.

I’m glad that he came out and kind of made a statement calling it asking the Biden administration to recognize it as a weapon of mass destruction. Those are two major things that he did in his second week in the office. So I think this is setting a tone. I think that the GOP has been looking for a tone to be set by somebody. So I’m all for it.

Gulbransen: Your phrase that you like to say is fortify the state of Tennessee. Michael likes to say, vigorously defend the constitution of the state of Tennessee, but they both mean the same thing. And there’s a lot of people cheering right now of the actions of the attorney general.

I have said, because I get to issue my opinions now. I think he’s a very strong attorney general. Thus far, 1516 days, you get an eight year term. But he’s coming out the gate strong. He’s coming out the gates swinging.

For you pro wrestling fans out there, it’s kind of like the glass shattering and Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out full of water and vinegar. So there you go. But, yeah, I like what he’s doing.

And of course, the other thing that the attorney general got to do is they’re negotiating these settlements, and they announced a couple of weeks ago is Tennessee and 33 or 34 other states reached an agreement with Juul labs.

I think that Juul should have just settled with the state’s government just for the male smoking Juul or whatever, vaping with them. But that’s just my cigar smoker’s humor there. You get to talk to him soon, and of course, Michael gets to talk to him next week.

I’m very curious to see what he’s going to do next. I think one of the questions that would be interesting is to see if he’s willing to sue in support of the National Guard members who are in the middle of their separation process.

Podsiedlik: Absolutely.

Gulbransen: That’s still going on, by the way. We haven’t forgotten about that.

Carmichael: Where does that stand right now?

Gulbransen: Last thing I heard was they were due to be separated officially. They haven’t been paid in a while, but they were due to be separated at the end of the month.

Carmichael: At the end of September?

Gulbransen: Yes, if that’s indeed the case. The information has been kind of scattered since over the last month or so. But I have not been allowed to reveal these things publicly yet. But I have heard of some interesting creative solutions that may be presented.

So we’ll see. There are a lot of good people working on this issue, and we’ll say we may see the fruits of it. So if not now, possibly some retroactive things could occur when the session comes in, too.

Podsiedlik: That would definitely be a good statement on the behalf of this new office that screamed taken. But I think, too, what I’ve heard from different people looking for specific, what are they looking for from the new attorney general, is we’ve seen some of these more if you want to call them, “activists DAs.”

We’ve seen Glenn Funk come out specifically and say that he won’t prosecute some of these abortion laws here in Nashville. And people are curious because I think it was back in 2001 they did give our AG the right to step in if these DAs aren’t taking action and actually prosecuting these laws that are passed by legislators.

We’ve seen stuff like these activist DAs in different states, and we’ve seen some terrible cities go down the drain because of activist DAs. So I think people are really curious, is he going to step in?

Is he going to actually hold the line on behalf of Tennesseans? And I think that might be the biggest question I’ve gotten as far as what do people want to see from the new AG.

Gulbransen: I also want to see what he’s going to do. He’s got a history of doing good in this area, but I want to see what he’s going to do on human trafficking. There are a lot of different things. And of course, you’ve got that task force that’s being assembled that’s intended to sue the federal government for their overreach. So that’ll be fun.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.











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2 Thoughts to “Reporter Megan Lee Podsiedlik Talks About New Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti”

  1. Molly

    And yet Skrmetti and Schwinn stand motionless will county school boards defy the law and promote racism and prejudice through variations of CRT


    1. 83ragtop50

      But, of course, the man behind this failure is none other than Little Billy Lee.